By Marcia Love
A bred heifer sale at Heartland Livestock is going to benefit many youth looking at getting a start in agriculture.
For the second year, the Rock Solid Bred Heifer Sale on Dec. 14 will be selling bred heifers donated by consignors, with proceeds supporting the Arnal Boys Memorial Bursary. For this year’s sale, Kelly Topham of Top Land and Cattle Ltd. and Donald and Penny Banford of Rock Land and Cattle will each be donating a heifer to be auctioned off in memory of the three Arnal brothers.
The Arnal Boys Memorial Bursary was created last year in memory of brothers Blake, Sean and Lyndon, who were killed in separate farm accidents at their family farm near Ravenscrag.
The Arnals established the bursary in memory of the boys as a way of giving back to the community following the tragedy as each of the brothers had a deep love of farming. It will be awarded on an annual basis to chosen applicants between eight and 18 years of age attending school in the Chinook School Division who have an agricultural interest or project which they would like to invest in.
The bursary kicked off at the 2014 Rock Solid Bred Heifer Sale, where three donated bred heifers raised about $48,000 for the cause.
“It was way more than we had ever expected,” said Chantal Henderson, the boys’ sister, of last year’s sale.
This was followed by a three-on-three hockey tournament fundraiser at Eastend in March and a skeet shoot fundraiser in July.
The family intends to eventually make the bursary self-sustaining, giving out $5,000 each year from the interest gained.
“At this point, we’ll just try to fill as many of the bursary applications as we can,” said Henderson.
After the devastating loss the Arnal family suffered, they saw the bursary as a way of carrying on Blake, Sean and Lyndon’s memory in a positive way, Henderson said.
“The outpouring of support (for the bursary) makes a difficult situation… something you can live with knowing that their memory continues to go on and help other kids who are so enthusiastic about agriculture,” she said, adding the Southwest community has offered them personal support as well as they grieved Sean and Lyndon’s death in a tractor accident in July 2014.
In June, the family awarded 15 young people with a keen interest in pursuing a career in agriculture with the first Arnal Boys Memorial Bursary.
Just over $45,000 was awarded to the students.
The family had originally intended to give out up to $3,000 a year through the bursary. However, the support they received was so overwhelming they were able to increase the amount.
Among the 15 projects the bursary supported was a chicken business set up by young girls near Kyle.
“Just recently, their chickens started laying eggs, so they’re in the process of selling them,” Henderson explained.
Other projects which the bursary was able to support included a boy wishing to purchase a bull to start his own breeding program, and another boy who purchased an electric fence for grazing sheep.
“It’s just interesting to see the different (adversities) the kids come across and how they overcome them,” Henderson said of the challenges that come with each of the projects.
The Arnals are grateful for the Rock Solid Bred Heifer Sale consignors as well as those who have offered their support.
“The only reason this bursary is even possible is through the generosity of everyone who has taken part in it,” Henderson said. “We feel the love all around — whether it be through the bursary or through our relationships with the people that we have around us.”